Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC)
Origin and Aims. Founded in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies. Begun as an informal dialogue group, APEC has since become the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic co-operation in the region. It aims to promote free and open trade in the Asia-Pacific region through trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Also, to promote economic and technical co-operation among its members. APEC’s 21 member economies had a combined GDP of over US $16 trillion in 1996 and 45 per cent of global trade. New Zealand is the APEC Chair for 1999. Membership consists of economies rather than countries. Peru, Russia and Vietnam joined the community at the 10th APEC Ministerial Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in Nov. 1998.